By: Mike McKenna
If you’ve never been snow tubing, well then I’m sorry to report that you’ve lived an unfulfilled life. Sure, most folks who’ve never tried snow tubing might not think they’re missing much. But whoever said, "Ignorance is bliss," obviously has a serious misunderstanding about the word "bliss."
Bliss actually means "a perfect untroubled happiness," which pretty much sums up how you feel while spending an hour or two snow tubing. And the best part of the blissful act of snow tubing is that it can be done by anyone from four to 84. Basically, if you can sit and giggle at the same time, you can enjoy snow tubing.
"This is soooo much fun," squealed four-year-old Athena Sterios, between hoots and giggles as she and her cousin, Jack, took a break from skiing to spend some time at Sun Valley’s Snow Tubing Park at Dollar Mountain recently.
"This really is pretty fun," Athena’s grandmother, Patti Anderson, said as they got ready to swoosh down another run.
Not to be confused with its watery, warm weather cousins of boat or water-ski tubing, snow tubing is basically sledding in style. Participants ride a large "Magic Carpet" up to the top of the snow covered hill, pick a run, then hop on the glorified inner tube and with a shove from a friendly attendant it’s time to slide on down the hill. There’s something about the sensation of sledding down a snowy slope that just makes you smile–and makes youngsters laugh unabashedly. Snow tubing sort of makes you feel like you’re riding a frozen water slide.
For obvious reasons, the sport has been growing in popularity nationwide and it’s now tough to find a ski area from little mom-and-pop places in New Hampshire to the largest resorts in California that don’t have a snow tubing park. The ski industry is now calling snow tubing, " the rising star of the slopes."
"It’s a great alternative for people who don’t ski or snowboard but still want to have a fun winter experience. It’s also a fun thing to do if you just want to take a break from skiing or as a fun thing to do aprs skiing," said Jon Golden, who’s worked at Sun Valley’s Tubing Park for a couple years. "People from all ages and all walks off life have fun when they come here."
No wonder snow tubing is growing in popularity. It’s the type of simple outdoor activity that can put a smile on anyone’s face. It also offers kids (and the kids in all of us) an opportunity for a few gloriously blissful moments. The type of boundless joy that kids remember their whole lives.
"Can we go again? Can we go again?" Athena and Jack asked after each run, before bounding back up to the top to giggle and squeal in delight as they zipped down the hill again. The sound of kids laughing is good for the soul, so snow tubing must be pretty good for it, too.
[The Sun Valley Snow Tube Park is open daily from 11am to 5pm. Warm hats and gloves are recommended, but there are no other clothing requirements. Check here for ticket information.]